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August 15, 2022

Good Morning? 96

By Lydia Manx

While I was still being suspended over the ground in Parrot's control -- I really didn't have any other words for it since Parrot didn't seemed to have a true form, but rather a wickedly crazy ghostlike appearance -- I had finally heard a shout out into my thoughts from Uncle Harry. Hopefully without alerting Parrot, Uncle Harry and I had connected and my vampire friend had nudged back into my memory for a piece of history I'd long since buried from my early years with Uncle Harry. From what I could tell Parrot was still quite a distance from landing, so I let the memory roll over me. Parrot didn't seem to notice, lost in its own world of thoughts of chaos and death, leaking unnervingly into mine. The ground still seemed far away and I wasn't ready to free fall and possibly crash and burn. I shuddered and instead remembered my own past. "Emma, Harry told me that we need to play today." Lowell cautiously had approached me with his eyes down and his tail between his legs. He was in his werewolf form, but strong enough to speak. Lowell wasn't someone I usually sought out, much less even talked to since he seemed far too remote, and I had had way too many 'remote' creatures in my life already. I vaguely recalled that his human form was average -- tight body, but nothing anyone would notice; no one would take the time to pull him out of a crowd and remember, much less even wonder at why he was standing in their personal space. Brown hair brown eyes average height -- like I said, not memorable or distinctive as far as I could tell. Lowell was fond of getting physically too close to people and it creeped me out mostly. That said, his being pretty much invisible was for werewolves a good thing, since they were supposed to fly beneath the human radar. He was muscled with a strong lean body, like a surfer -- taut, ripped, with a six-pack set of abs ... and fierce. Anyone seeing his human side would smile, but not go overboard to get his attention. Intense yet remote -- which pretty much summed up most weres I'd known.

Most people don't understand that werewolves are truly amazing supernatural creatures. Hollywood and assorted silly movies and various books had tainted humans' perceptions of werewolves, and from that, the werewolves were considered simply vicious killing machines. They were dismissed as little more than Furry Beasts With Attitude.

One of their astonishing traits was that they didn't shift from one form to their other exactly the same size and weight. Lowell appeared to be pretty young in his human form, but that he was able to talk when he was furred out meant he was far older than he seemed at first glance. Werewolves had a different time line for their lives than most humans. I'd met century-old weres that looked to be in their mid-thirties before, and Lowell was no exception.

At that time I was in my late teens, probably nineteen or so, and I was chafing at the bit from the bridling rules of my new world. I wasn't ready to admit that I wasn't pure human, and yet I knew better in my heart. With all the stupid hormones raging through my body, and the disconnect from my normal life, I was constantly battling my fears. Lowell wasn't someone I typically hung out with and that Uncle Harry had sent him to me meant either I was to be watched, or I was supposed to learn something. Either way I totally had not been in the mood.

"Play? What, like five-year-olds in the sandbox? What do you mean play today?" I gave no quarter, and was irritated at the idea that Uncle Harry had sent me someone to play with me, like I couldn't figure out anything to entertain me on my own time.

We'd been in the backyard of one of Uncle Harry's many homes, inland from his coastal house that I favored. I didn't know why we'd moved that time, but usually it was due to some political mishap between vampires and non-vampires, so I had already learned not to ask. We moved in the middle of the night like we were dodging an irate landlord looking for months of back rent, but in fact everywhere Uncle Harry ever took me was someplace that he owned. The East County ranch was no exception. I'd noticed that more werewolves tended to visit Uncle Harry at that home than most. It was a huge estate with an open range, acres of space with oaks and scrub brush, the basic chaparral of southern California unchecked by invasive species. I liked it out there; it felt clean and fresh. He'd created a few ponds with stocked fish and willow trees that framed the space. I always felt that I could breathe when there. At least until Lowell said we were supposed to play.

What the hell did he mean by 'play?'

In his werewolf form, he was nearly to my waist standing on all four of his paws. If he got up on his hind quarters I knew he'd be way taller than me. In his human form he was only a few inches above me but in werewolf form he was at least six or more inches higher. Like I said, weres had different sizes. He was a combination of tawny brown with dark markings, much like his brown hair and brown eyes. As a werewolf, he was more noticeable than he was as a human; there was a golden hint of fur and furry that made Lowell more visually awesome than he appeared as a human. But I hadn't trusted him, because for all his bowing and play pose he'd seemed to be angry at me.

Solidifying my thoughts, I'd watched as Lowell had quickly dropped down and did the acceptable play pose that all dogs did when confronted with alphas or stronger beasts -- the one where they dropped their front legs nearly flat while they raised their hindquarters up in the air and all the while they were tail-wagging frantically back and forth. It would have been cute had Lowell's teeth not been well over an inch in length and his eyes not had a sharp predatory gleam. I kept calm while wondering what it was that Uncle Harry expected from me. I wasn't jaded enough to think it was just a game because Uncle Harry had been taking time to train me to survive. Lowell's presence spelled out another survival game that could possibly be the difference for me between life and death.

Smiling with far too many sharp pointed teeth, Lowell had said, "We are supposed to track a supernatural creature that has been savaging the goats here."

I'd nodded while trying to recall if there had been any goats out here the last time I'd been visiting -- not that it mattered -- and shrugging, I asked him, "What is supposed to be here?"

Lowell just grinned a smartass canine sort of sloppy grin and shrugged his shoulders back at me. He didn't bother to answer, but began to lope out into the shrub brush. Reluctantly I followed, all the while wondering what the hell I was doing. I had only been told by Lowell that Uncle Harry wanted me to play with him. It was the middle of the day and I tentatively reached out for Uncle Harry, but there was a disturbing buzz of discordant nothingness that made my head ache and throb. I gave up after a few minutes and sucked in a deep breath and asked, "What are you doing?"

Since he was half way across the driveway and nearly to the fence lines, I'd had to yell the question, but he had just grinned at me and kept running. Growling softly, I focused on the small cluster of oaks on the edge of the field in the distance and "jumped."

Lowell had just leaped into the space where I'd landed, and without a thought I simply bopped him on the head. Not hard, but it had shocked him nevertheless.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-07-28
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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